Is this a good budget soldering iron?

So I'm an Arduino beginner and after doing some basic projects I'll be starting my own more advanced projects, and I'll need a soldering iron for some of them. I found this soldering iron + solder combo and it looks pretty good. I'll be pairing it with this helping hand/magnifying glass/soldering iron holder combo. This is the solder it comes with as far as I know. Does rosin core mean it comes with flux, or do I need to buy some separately? And is the soldering iron any good? Thanks in advance to anyone who replies.

Generic rebranded soldering iron. It will work just fine. The tips it comes with will probably literally only last a job or two as they disintegrate, but it takes Hakko tips which work great.

I would buy a proper stand for the iron, a brass wool in a can for tip cleaning, and 63/37 solder.

Rosin core means it has flux in the middle of the wire, which is fine for just about everything you'll do. Unless you plan on working on some grody oxidized components from decades ago, it should be all the flux you need in there.

And you're right that it comes with 60/40 solder, but it is definitely not going to be kester. Whatever it comes with will be usable, but you should look for good solder (such as kester 63/37) as that makes the most difference in your results.

INTP: Generic rebranded soldering iron. It will work just fine. The tips it comes with will probably literally only last a job or two as they disintegrate, but it takes Hakko tips which work great.

I would buy a proper stand for the iron, a brass wool in a can for tip cleaning, and 63/37 solder.

Rosin core means it has flux in the middle of the wire, which is fine for just about everything you'll do. Unless you plan on working on some grody oxidized components from decades ago, it should be all the flux you need in there.

And you're right that it comes with 60/40 solder, but it is definitely not going to be kester. Whatever it comes with will be usable, but you should look for good solder (such as kester 63/37) as that makes the most difference in your results.

Which tips specifically should I be getting? I don't really want to spend more than the $20 for the iron and $14 for the third hand/stand/magnifier unless the tips that come with the iron will really disintegrate.

Really? when using rosin core i don't need to use flux to solder? that's my dream thing!

And when it comes to clean the board after, do you recommend anything?

I always had this doubt but never remembered to ask. Thanks!

CanadianCyanide: Which tips specifically should I be getting? I don't really want to spend more than the $20 for the iron and $14 for the third hand/stand/magnifier unless the tips that come with the iron will really disintegrate.

https://www.hakko.com/english/tip_selection/series_900m.html

I'm using no-name Hakko 900M series tips on what's probably the same soldering iron you showed. No complaints, just never really want to lug out the big Weller station for the quick jobs I do.

ArduBogus: Really? when using rosin core i don't need to use flux to solder? that's my dream thing!

And when it comes to clean the board after, do you recommend anything?

I always had this doubt but never remembered to ask. Thanks!

You don't need additional flux usually. The rosin in the core is flux. Not a bad idea to have some extra flux, but I haven't even cracked open mine yet.

IF you use rosin core solder, you don't need to clean the boards. If you still want to, use IPA (isopropal alcohol). We buy the cheap stuff at a drug store and use an old tooth brush. Wash the board with hot water and air dry to finish cleaning.

If using any other type of flux, wash in hot water and air dry.

If you are adding a something that can't be washed, add that after washing and use "no clean" flux.

Paul

Paul_KD7HB: If you are adding a something that can't be washed, add that after washing and use "no clean" flux.

Paul

FYI, most things that cannot be washed will be mechanical things, like switches or relays that aren't sealed, or something like an atmospheric sensor with an open port. The thing these have in common is little nooks and crannies that the cleaning gunk can easily get into, but not so easily removed.

Most electronics components won't care about being washed, as long as they are dried before powering up.

Using the Hakko page that INTP linked, your best general purpose tip is going to be a shape D chisel tip, probably the 1.6D or 2.4D.

Also, do not forget solder wick and a solder sucker.

Do not forget to get solder wick. I said it twice because it's important.

I don't like this type of iron because the tip is not grounded. Most part don't have problems but a part that is commonly use with arduinos is very sensitive and easily damaged with an ungrounded tip of a soldering iron. That part is a MOSFET. One of the other thread started about just such a problem. The tips of these iron has a small capacitance to about 1/2 the line voltage. Most parts have protection that can easily handle this small of a capacitance. The MOSFET's input is essentially a capacitor. A small capacitor. The voltage of the ungrounded iron can easily go over 70 volts, damaging the gate lead. Dwight

Direct powered irons shouldn't be used for electronics. They are only good for wires, connectors, etc. Sensitive electronics need an ESD-safe soldering station. Leo..

If you want to solder a mosfet safely with a cheap hot poker, do this.

Use a thin bare copper wire to connect/short all pins of the mosfet together, close to the body. When the mosfet is soldered in, remove the wire. Leo..

dwightthinker: I don't like this type of iron because the tip is not grounded. Most part don't have problems but a part that is commonly use with arduinos is very sensitive and easily damaged with an ungrounded tip of a soldering iron. That part is a MOSFET. One of the other thread started about just such a problem. The tips of these iron has a small capacitance to about 1/2 the line voltage. Most parts have protection that can easily handle this small of a capacitance. The MOSFET's input is essentially a capacitor. A small capacitor. The voltage of the ungrounded iron can easily go over 70 volts, damaging the gate lead. Dwight

Can you recommend a good iron sold on a Canadian website?

Jiggy-Ninja: FYI, most things that cannot be washed will be mechanical things, like switches or relays that aren't sealed, or something like an atmospheric sensor with an open port. The thing these have in common is little nooks and crannies that the cleaning gunk can easily get into, but not so easily removed.

Most electronics components won't care about being washed, as long as they are dried before powering up.

Using the Hakko page that INTP linked, your best general purpose tip is going to be a shape D chisel tip, probably the 1.6D or 2.4D.

Also, do not forget solder wick and a solder sucker.

Do not forget to get solder wick. I said it twice because it's important.

Would https://www.amazon.ca/SODIAL-Aluminium-Desoldering-Solder-Remover/dp/B00JFOR9G0/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1475415878&sr=1-1&keywords=solder+sucker and https://www.amazon.ca/MG-Chemicals-424-LF-Temperature-0-05-Inch/dp/B008O9WEUS/ref=sr_1_12?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1475416071&sr=1-12&keywords=solder+wick work?

Wawa: Direct powered irons shouldn't be used for electronics. They are only good for wires, connectors, etc. Sensitive electronics need an ESD-safe soldering station. Leo..

Don't jump to conclusions without checking with an Ohmmeter. If they have a 3 wire power cord, the tip is grounded. Look for the UL label.

Paul

I would assume one can by a Weller soldering station in Canada. It won't be a cheap as the you you got. Dwight

CanadianCyanide: Can you recommend a good iron sold on a Canadian website?

Would https://www.amazon.ca/SODIAL-Aluminium-Desoldering-Solder-Remover/dp/B00JFOR9G0/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1475415878&sr=1-1&keywords=solder+sucker and https://www.amazon.ca/MG-Chemicals-424-LF-Temperature-0-05-Inch/dp/B008O9WEUS/ref=sr_1_12?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1475416071&sr=1-12&keywords=solder+wick work?

Yep, exactly the kind of thing I was talking about.

I bought a used Hakko FX-888 for 60 USD off ebay a few years ago. SSSOOOOOO much better than the worthless fire starters that just plug into mains. You should be able to find a Hakko or Weller for a good price if you hunt well enough. Even an older model will still work fantastically.

Also, the iron holder on that third hand thing is worse than worthless, it is dangerous. Never, EVER use a holder with a base with such a small footprint like that, it will have no stability at all when the weight of the iron is on it. It'll tip easier than an alcoholic after a night at the bar, and then your 350oC iron is rolling around on the table, maybe falling off the table, who knows?

Any proper soldering station will have a big, chunky iron stand that has no chance of tipping over. My Hakko one has some proper weight in it, I could probably club a burglar unconscious with it. I cannot stress enough to never use that crappy thing attached to your third arm that claims to be an iron stand.

ArduBogus: ... And when it comes to clean the board after, do you recommend anything? ...

I dip a soft bristled toothbrush in 70% isopropyl alcohol (drug store 'rubbing alcohol'), and clean my solder jobs with small circular scrubbing, just like brushing my teeth, but with a lighter touch. Then blot it dry with a q-tip. The work shines after that!

The helping-hand station you gave a link to is junk. Look at those alligator clips. In a few weeks, they will all come loose, and have a tendency to fall off, and even at their best, they aren't very good at holding a board. Save yourself money and grief. Put the money you've saved into a better soldering station. It is a better investment.

Take a look at the PanaVise. Use google to find it. Yes, it is expensive. Look at it carefully. Notice the several axes of motion. Now look for cheap clones. You may find one. But anything less than a PanaVise functionality is just a waste of money, because you will want to (or have to) throw it out in less than a year. Even a simple bench vise would be a better investment.

I bought a good one about twenty years ago. It is still in service. The one you referenced is in the makerspace I inhabit. They have two of them. Everyone avoids those except those who don't know any better. They use one of them exactly once. Then they use the PanaVise. We only have one PanaVise, so it can get kind of desperate. I bought my own, which I keep in my toolbox, and therefore I avoid the contention for the good one.

The problem is that good tools last a lifetime, or nearly so, and cheap tools last weeks. You will end up disappointed by the cheap soldering iron, but you don't need a top-of-the-line to start. But the comments about ESD are relevant, and the use of a "mains iron" has many risks, for both the user and the circuits, all of which have been described. Poor tools have no lasting power, and you will soon tire of how bad they are. Yes, I agree, that buying good tools has a very negative impact on cash flow, and it doesn't matter how good something is if you can't afford it. But you also can't afford to waste money. Doing without is so much better than doing-with-really-crappy-stuff. Don't say no one warned you. joe joe

If you're feeling creative, you can make your own helping hands setup with coolant lines used for cnc machines and alligator clips. Infinite possibilities for range of motion and angles and number of hands.

It wasn't mentioned that these cheap iron usually don't have temperature control. This causes problems. One is that they over heat, possibly lifting pads from circuit boards and oxidizing the tips quicker, requiring more regular cleaning. If the tip is uncoated copper, it will rot out faster. If iron clad, it will need more aggressive cleaning that will cause the coating to be damaged. One of the biggest problems with new people using soldering irons is not keeping the iron clean and tinned. The other is using the iron to transfer solder to the work, causing typical cold solder joints. As for grounding, one can add a clip and ground wire. A light dimmer makes a coarse temperature controller. One can get a inline dimmer for an incandescent lamp. Still, I would not go for cheap when used for tools. I've wasted a lot of my hard earned money on bargain tools. I'm too old now to even think of using cheap junk. Dwight

dwightthinker: It wasn't mentioned that these cheap iron usually don't have temperature control. This causes problems.

The one he linking to in OP claims to have temperature control. Whether it's worth anything or not is the question.